Jonah Hill’s Top 5 MCs Shows He’s A True ’90s Hip-Hop Head (Video)
Jonah Hill is an Oscar-nominated actor whose career in film almost began behind the camera. Instead, appearances in comedies like Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Pineapple Express blazed a path that led him to become one of his generation’s most sought-after comedic actors. Turns in dramatic roles for Moneyball and The Wolf Of Wall Street earned him accolades for the breadth of his acting capabilities. However, as he’s made known in recent interviews, “writer,” “filmmaker,” and “director” were the job titles he originally sought. Now, Jonah Hill is finally making his directorial debut in a film-related, in part, to the influence of Hip-Hop culture.
Mid90s is, at its core, a coming-of-age story. It centers around skateboarding culture in Los Angeles and is inextricably connected to music. Since debuting at the Toronto Film Festival in September, Hill’s been busy on a promotional run ahead of its release date this Friday, October 19. He stopped by The Breakfast Club, where co-hosts Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee asked him all about the film. Much of the interview, like the film, is inspired by the 1990s and the conversation included a lengthy discussion about Hip-Hop music.
At the 29:28 mark, Envy asks Hill what he’s listening to these days. “I got the kids to finally admit that the Boom-Bap era sh*ts on the Soundcloud era,” Hill says of the non-actors he cast to play the skateboarding youths in Mid90s. He then begins to list a series of names of ’90s-era artists he admires, saying “Q-Tip’s my God. Gang Starr, Mobb Deep, RZA, Prince Paul, Pete Rock.” Once Envy asks him who his Top 5 MCs are, Hill takes a few moments before saying he’s unable to list them in any meaningful order. “I would want to think for a month,” he says. Eventually, he comes up with his list, and it’s impressive, though not cut-and-dry. It’s actually six acts total, and the final one he mentions shows his depth of knowledge in the genre.
Jonah Hill’s top five MCs are, in no particular order: Big L, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg (counted as one), Prodigy and Havoc (counted as one), Guru, all of the Wu-Tang Clan and Jeru The Damaja. “Anything [DJ Premier] makes, I f*ck with,” he says when Charlamagne is momentarily taken aback by hearing Jeru’s name on the list. Hill also shouts out PRhyme and Run The Jewels as artists whose recent successes he admires for “blowing up later in life.” Another Hip-Hop centered point of the interview happens briefly, near the 33:40 mark, when Hill shares that Del The Funkee Homosapien was cast in his film to play a homeless man in what turned out to be Hill’s favorite scene in the movie.
Towards the end of the interview, near the 54:00 mark, Hill reveals that his personal God, Q-Tip was one of the first two people, along with Frank Ocean, to see the first draft of the film. Jonah reportedly picked both artists’ brains to make sure they agreed that the film was an appropriate and authentic depiction of skating and Hip-Hop in the ’90s.
#BonusBeat: Heads can check out the official trailer for Mid90s, which includes a glimpse into the bedroom of the main character. Its walls are covered in posters of prominent 1990s Rap stars, and there’s a shot of an epic Rap CD collection including Common, Black Sheep, Tha Alkaholiks and more: